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Statement of the Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs, G. Katrougalos, following the briefing of political parties on the documents of the Embassy of Greece in Saudi Arabia (Athens, 30.11.2017)

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Following the briefing of the political parties on the documents of the Embassy of Greece in Saudi Arabia, the Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs, G. Katrougalos, made the following statement:

“All parliamentary political parties responded to our transparency-related invitation and came to be briefed on the despatches referred to by the Prime Minister in his speech to Parliament. The obvious was also proven: that the Prime Minister told nothing but the truth with regard to this case and the despatches in question. It was also demonstrated that it is possible to conduct parliamentary oversight in a transparent manner, while respecting national secrets. I remind you that this principle was often violated recently, with no consideration for the national interest. It is not just the penal code that prohibits the disclosure of national secrets. The Standing Orders of the Parliament, in paragraph 4 of article 133, expressly prohibit the disclosure of classified documents. It is not even left to the discretion of the competent minister to disclose relevant documents. We had nothing to hide. Fabricated from the outset, this whole case collapsed. It has also been shown that the sole political and legal question – whether the person who signed had power of attorney from Saudi Arabia – proved to be true, beyond any doubt. Today’s questioning, by New Democracy, of the spelling of these power-of-attorney documents shows nothing more than the embarrassment of the said party. But, respect for institutions is a prerequisite for respect for Democracy. The opposition has to get serious. The issues and problems of the Greek people lie elsewhere.”

Mr. Katrougalos also responded to the following questions from reporters:

REPORTER: If need be, would you again provide access to classified documents?
G. KATROUGALOS: Classified documents are classified for a reason. Beyond that, whenever there is a need to serve the public interest, through parliamentary oversight, we have demonstrated – through this action, and we will show it in the future – our full respect of democracy.

REPORTER: Mr. Koumoutsakos requested access to all the documents, and you refused him ?
G. KATROUGALOS: Classified documents of the Greek state have been made public as if they were flyers. As I have said before, parliamentary oversight has to be consistent with the safeguard of national interests. This is what we have done, and will continue to do in the future.

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